Hundreds of people loot beer cartons and cans which fell out from a truck in Bien Hoa Town, the southern province of Dong Nai on December 4 / FILE PHOTO
On December 4, lots of beer cartons fell from a truck in Bien Hoa Town, the southern province of Dong Nai, as its driver made a sudden turn because of some problem with the vehicle's brakes.
Almost immediately, hundreds of people rushed to the site to grab the beer cartons and cans, not only from the street but also from the truck, despite the driver begging them to desist. Some people even mobilized a tricycle to carry what they stole.
Within 15 minutes, more than 1,000 beer cartons, estimated to be worth VND310 million (US$14,600), were taken from the site.
The whole scene was either filmed or captured on cameras by passers-by. Video clips and photos were quickly published in local media and went viral online, provoking widespread criticism at the looting.
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident.
On November 29, a man dropped a stack of VND100,000 notes on the National Road No.1 in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City. A gust of wind scattered the notes all over the place. Within seconds, dozens of people from either side of the road rushed to pick up the notes and put them into their pockets.
In a video clip recorded by a passer-by, the driver of a truck stopped the vehicle right in the middle of the road to collect the money along with his assistant.
On October 22, a motorbike collision left two people seriously injured. From a fallen bike, lots of VND500,000 notes were spilled and were quickly stolen by passers-by.
On October 16, in downtown HCMC, four men on two motorbikes approached a man who had stopped at a red light and tried to rob him.
When the man was struggling with the robbers, his bag containing VND50 million ($2,300) opened and lots of VND500,000 notes fell out. Passers-by quickly collected the notes and ran away.
The bad taste that such stories leave in our mouths, the bitterness that rises in our throats these are not going away any time soon, judging by the way things are going with our society.
Of course, it is important to remember the positive side of the Vietnamese people. Not all reports are focused on the negative aspects.
More than a year ago, Nguyen Van Dung, a taxi driver in the central town of Hue, returned a handbag containing money and jewelry estimated to be worth nearly VND1 billion ($47,100) to his passenger who forgot it in his vehicle.
"To be honest, it was a big fortune that I will not be able to earn even if I work for my whole life. But, I returned it because I thought that the person who lost it must have had to work hard to earn it and that his family would have suffered," Dung said.
It is a pity that such beautiful stories are becoming rare these days.
The ability to refuse to take something that we do not own, if not a natural habit, is developed by the education we receive from our schools, families and society as a whole when we are young.
If we teach children the values of patience and caring for others, we will not have to witness scenes in which people aggressively push and fight each other in public places, run red lights, or compete aggressively on traffic lanes.
If kids are taught not to take what does not belong to them, there will be no looting, plagiarism, bribing or embezzlement. Judging by what is happening in our society today, what are we teaching our children, what example are we setting for future generations?
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